Nairobi, Feb 8 - Two of Kenya's most celebrated runners --Ibrahim Hussein and Paul Tergat -- have predicted the current marathon world record of 2:03.38 won't stand for long.
"During my time we were doing 2:08. I was instrumental in convincing Paul Tergat, while he was still a cross-country runner, to switch to the marathon and run a 2:04 which he subsequently did and went ahead and broke the world record," three-time Boston Marathon winner Ibrahim Hussein said Tuesday in Nairobi during the launch of the UNEP half-Marathon scheduled for Feb. 19 to celebrate the organisation's 40th anniversary.
Hussein, who is also a three-time winner of the Honolulu Marathon and the New York City Marathon, predicted that current record holder Patrick Makau was capable of running a 2:02 in future.
Tergat, who set a world marathon record time of 2:04.55 in 2003 at Berlin Marathon which was subsequently lowered to 2:04.26 in 2007 along the same course, said he was of strong belief the world record will be broken by another Kenyan, Xinhua reported.
"I am happy that the world record came home to where it belongs and I will be much happier if the mark is lowered by my fellow countryman when that time comes," he said.
Kenya has the deepest pool of marathon runners in the world as was evident by the Kenyan athletics authorities who were spoiled for choice while trying to pick a team of twelve runners out of a pool of over 150 athletes to represent the country at the 2012 London Olympics.
Athletics Kenya settled for Patrick Makau, twice world champion Abel Kirui to lead the team list that also includes Geoffrey Mutai, 2011 winner in the Boston and New York City Marathons; Emmanuel Mutai, the London Marathon title holder; Moses Mosop, 2011 Boston Marathon runners-up and Frankfurt Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich.
Edna Kiplagat, who was third in the London Marathon last year, will lead the women's team which also boasts Mary Kaitany, Paris Marathon champion Prisca Jeptoo and Berlin Marathon winner Florence Kiplagat.
Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat acknowledges the country was spoilt for choice.
"There were 150 men and 50 women who had made the qualifying time and we did our best to come up with the best among them," Kiplagat said during the naming of the team. "We have watched these athletes and know they are up to the task."
The final list will be named April 30.(IANS)